we have bikes! i've been preoccupied, so i didn't update on this when it happened... but parakkum and i ordered bikes last saturday.
much thanks to kwc for being our ethical and extremely helpful bicycle consultant!
and thanks ota, for the bicycle info and trek catalogue!
cshell was supposed to come with us also, but there were some deliveries to be done to make her home even more beautiful and comfortable. i will go into some detail about what we got for her benefit (and for anyone else interested).
the post was getting kinda long, so i am moving everything to the extended. :) i have posted pictures of what our bikes look (or will look) like.
first of all, expect to spend at least $500 on your bike. the cheapest bike you'll want (that uses good parts and has a good warranty and whatnot) will run ~$300 and the accessories just add up.
we both got Trek Hybrid 7300s. we tried the Trek Cruiser types Navigator 300 and 200, but ultimately the hybrid seemed to fit my desire to be able to join people for longer rides better than the comfortable, but perhaps too cushy rides of the navigators.
the cushier the ride = more energy lost through absorption = more work.
besides, the 7300 was zippier, and i liked that. :)
first, we tried kwc's bicycle shop, Chain Reaction but they seemed to be more of a road bike and mountain bike kinda place. but we did get the excellent information that i probably needed a 14" frame (since i'm so small) and parakkum needed a 15.5" or 15".
this saved us a lot of trouble.
we then went to Walt's Cycle and Fitness. cruisers, comfort and hybrid bikes seem to be their thing, which was perfect. they weren't as knowledgeable about what size i might need (they kept trying to say that 14.5" would be ok, but i felt pretty uncomfortable on a 14.5") but they were quite funny (especially the guys speaking in spanish without realizing that parakkum could understand them) and didn't mind that we were trying bike after bike and retrying other bikes and just walking into the back parking lot to try them out. they even had a giant pogo stick that kwc tried a couple times (i merely fell off while trying to get on).
be sure to buy your accessories on the day you buy your bike. kwc says they usually give you free stuff, not so with walt's. but i did get them to give us a 10% discount on all the accessories. 1 year warranty on parts and lifetime on the frame. they do all the warranty stuff through the store, which is nice. if there's a problem, you just bring it there. they also have 2 day trial period, where if you don't like the bike, you can just bring it back.
i think if i were a bigger size, i would have been able to try more bikes. as it was, since i was going for a 14" frame, i tried 3 bikes total. shopping is totally easy when things just aren't made to fit you. :P
and apparently, 14" frames only come in the women's/european style/step through frames... which i thought was totally goofy looking. the first guy said it was the women's frame, so i was all angry/huffy about the world's conspiracy to put women in ugly/goofy looking things. the second guy said it wasn't a women's frame, but a european style frame, which made me feel better. but ultimately... it is a step through frame (and though the trek catalogue doesn't say so... basically the women's frame). the benefit of the step through is that the bar is curved down and lower, meaning you don't have to throw your leg up as high to get on your bike.
there are separate women's frame bikes (not for the bikes we looked at though), and the difference from the men's bikes are that the bar on the frame is slightly lower. so it is possible to have a sporty looking women's frame which also made me happier. the idea that you can choose to have a goofy looking or sporty looking bike and that you're not forced to have a goofy looking one just because you're a girl makes me happy.
i still thought it was goofy to try to have the coloring make it look like it was all sporty looking while having this very non-sporty looking frame, so i ordered the "girliest" color available (lime green). and then i was surprised to hear parakkum order the exactly same color (he claims it's because it's a happy color, but i know it's because he really has a secret desire to be like me... hahahaha ;)). and then he proceeded to try to match every color i picked for the accessories, except for the helmet (they didn't have a pink helmet) and the water bottle (because i wanted to be able to differentiate which was whose by color).
turns out though, the lime green was out of stock and no longer to be made.
because... 2007 models were out! :D
parakkum didn't want red, which is the only color available for the 7300 in the regular men's frame. so he got the 2006 model in blue instead.
this is parakkum's bike:
we picked this bike up today. since parakkum still needs more practice on a bike (he hadn't ridden since elementary school), i biked it home. the ride felt longer than i anticipated, so i looked up the distance...
5 miles. :P (i thought it was something like 3)
it only took about 30-40 minutes though, so not too bad. i'm really out of shape and i'm still sneezing from allergies (probably pollen). :P but at least it confirms the idea that this will be good exercise for me. :)
as for my bike... i'm very happy and excitedly anticipating its arrival. my main beef with it was that it's a goofy looking step through frame trying to look all sporty, right?
well... the 2007 step through frame bike is ultra cute. if you're going to try to make it a girl's frame, at least make it look pretty. :) (i'm so vain)
it's all cute with a brown seat and everything. :) and the bikes come with a bell. :D
a list of the accessories we bought:
- water bottle cage (2)
- water bottle (2)
- lights (we got a combo that has front and back lights) (2)
apparently LED lights are good, because they're bright while powered off of AAs
- helmets (Giro) (2)
- universal racks (2)
to go over the back tire. you can strap on things like baskets and bags here.
- panniers (4 - 2 each)
we got bags instead of baskets because they could be detached and used as shopping bags and whatnot. they also have collapseable wire baskets, which kwc says are good for caltrain and a perfect size for the paper bags from trader joe's.
- U-lock with cable
you get the best of both worlds.
- cable lock
one of the disadvantages about the step throughs is that they can't accomodate a U-lock since the frame is goofy. also, for bike racks on cars, they need an adapter. apparently, the braid is better than twist cables, since they're tougher and they don't coil.
- bicycle gloves
parakkum didn't want them, but i did. kwc said they're mainly for when you fall, so that you don't scrape up your palms. i need my hands. :)
kwc said we have more bike gear than he does. :P :)